Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters

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Who Risks Again?

Who risks again?

I was the ultimate risk taker. Just ask my parents.

I saw a kid pop a wheelie on his bike. I tried it with everything I could muster up and flew off my bike and wound up with a huge gash across my stomach. I rode my bike even harder.

I wanted to skip THREE monkey bars instead of my regular two, and I fell to the ground with the wind knocked out of me. I still remember seeing the teacher on duty and being unable to make a sound. I can bet you I tried it again and succeeded.

I was left out of many an-elementary-school-girl-club and what do you know? I treasure many women, and I wasn’t afraid of making friends later in life.

Who risks again?

This might be the best question I ever asked myself and that ever stared back at me from the page of a book. It’s been resounding in my head and hasn’t let up. I read these words YESTERDAY, and already, I feel as though this is the question I’ve been asking myself all along.

What did I lose, looking back on the Melinda of years gone by?

Who risks again… and again… and again?

Because really… for those of us who have had a truly rough go of it (after seemingly having “It All”)… who among us will risk feeling that loss again?

Who has lost a child and dares to bring another into the world? 

Who has opened a business and watched it fail and attempts to open up yet another?

Who has loved with their whole heart and lost all of that time and energy and finds another to bestow the same amount of love? 

Who has had their entire existence derailed and looks to putting together the steps of their new life? 

I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned: There are those who do risk again. There are those who don’t (yet?).

I admire the ones who DO. 

I tend to resonate well with the ones who don’t. It’s not that I’m wallowing in the past and not living my life each day the best I know how. I am. But man, I feel like I can sniff out the jaded and the scarred and the wounded from ten miles away. We see each other across a room and nod, perhaps nothing more.

It’s something with the way we look, perhaps? Maybe there’s some animalistic instinct we have, a certain wrinkle that forms in just the right spot on our brows, subconsciously telling us who is of the same kind? Maybe it’s the way we carry ourselves, in some way defensive. It’s subtle. I know it must be. Or maybe it’s the language we use. We avoid certain words. We say, “I really like that jacket,” because we know the dangers of saying the word Love. I don’t love your jacket. I don’t even love any one person right now, so how can I love that?!

Maybe I’m making this all up in my head and I don’t have a special connection with anyone, except the one I imagine!

And don’t get me wrong. I admire the ones I resonate with just as much as the ones who are living with an unending, unafraid RISK of passion all over again. It takes a certain amount of courage to even get out of bed in the morning. It takes more to show up. It takes even more to smile, then laugh, and then admit to yourself that, “Hey, life actually isn’t so bad.” It’s admirable to admit defeat and then pull yourself up by your fraying bootstraps. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and I like it.

I’ve risked a lot in the last year. I risked leaving the city I knew. I risked missing my friends and family. I risked being more alone than ever. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. It was enjoyable, even. But am I truly risking It All? As in, something to dive into head first…. the way I did when naivety was part of the thrill?

“We’ve learned to be as faithless, stand behind bullet proof glass

Exchanging our affections through a drawer…

You should count your change before you’re even out the door” -B.E.

What I’m getting at here is what I’ve said before:

What happened to that seven year old? Where is she? The Melinda who was swinging on the monkey bars would say to me, “So? You get back up, you do it alllllll over again. No one could hear me yell, but turns out I didn’t need help! I got up all by myself. And LOOK AT ME GO!”

Buck up, in other words. I know that’s what she’d say.

Yet it is scary to risk again. Broken bones are actually much easier to heal than hearts.

“Yeah, well, I cried a lot in mom’s arms when those girls wouldn’t let me in their club. That hurt my heart. But I stayed quiet, watched the world around me, and wound up with better friends than I ever imagined. And LOOK AT ME GO!!”

Seven Year Old Melinda strikes again.

I’ve recently risked a little. The move, the non-extraordinary things that turns out- people do every single day. They don’t even feel the need to blog about it (ha). But I will not risk saying words that make me 100% vulnerable. Not really. I go so far, only to reel back. It’s safe right now. I can’t imagine getting out of this sort of limbo that life seems to be right now. I feel in between “my old life” and “my new life” even though I KNOW that life is what it is: it’s happening right now. This is the new life. There is no magical moment.

Oh, how I wish there was, though.

“Oh, time has a way of throwing it all in your face

The past she is haunted, the future is laced

Heartbreak, you know, drives a big black car,

I swear I was in the backseat just minding my own” -G.A.I.

The past may be haunted with memory monsters. Things didn’t turn out how I imagined. I don’t really believe in True Love with the capitals. But I want to. I guess the journey in the big black car doesn’t have to be passive. Maybe it’s because I was in the backseat minding my own business that things turned out the way they did. Maybe I need to fight someone to get into the front seat. Be demanding? Nah. Be firm? Absolutely. (Absoloodle!) The future might be laced. And life can’t compete with memories. Though I’d really appreciate someone who appreciated me despite their haunted past. In that case, I know that someone else deserves the same from me.

“Hope was a letter I never could send

Love was a country I couldn’t defend” – G.A.I.

Welp, truly, I have sent letters. Some more important than others. Now starts the defense of Love.

My goal is to shatter bullet proof glass. Seven year old Melinda says, “You can do it!” And she probably high fives me with the biggest smile on her face.

Cheers to all that, to those who are risking everything and those who maybe aren’t there yet.


rockin the Paula Abdul shirt

rockin the Paula Abdul shirt


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I Was In There All Along

I was digging through some old files on my flash drive today. I opened a folder called “BLOG” that I hadn’t opened since 2012.

The file was called “BLOG EIGHT REGRETS,” so you know, I had to open it. Because jeez, what was I regretting way back in 2012? I thought all that stuff was later. Hmmmmm…

As I read, here is what I learned:

I haven’t really changed as much as I thought. How did I get tricked into thinking that my current state of uneasiness around certain topics and my beliefs that shatter inspirational quotes everywhere was a new thing? Looks like I was more me than I ever realized, even back before I had to work through some tough times to discover who I was. I was in there all along.

This is a very comforting thought, when all is said and done.

And here it is, a blog post I wrote, but never posted, back on July 23, 2012. (I’m publishing just how I left it… the “draft” version, if you will)



Not Everything is Meant to Be

However much I would just love to spout out some cheesy quote about everything being meant to be… I simply can’t do it. I don’t think everything happens for a reason. In fact, I think a whole lot of sh*t just happens, and maybe there wasn’t a reason for it. I think we make our own reasoning, and therefore make the best of the situation.

“Everything happens for a reason” INSTEAD SHOULD BE “I can make any situation positive if I try hard enough.”


And let me tell you something else, something that may rock your world. It will undo every [pinterest] quote you ever heard.

“Have no regrets, because at one point that choice was exactly what you wanted” INSTEAD SHOULD BE “If you regret something, that’s okay. Learn from your mistakes. Move past it. Become a better person. You may always regret that action, but you can control what happens after. And maybe you were just having a stupid, bad day.”

I recently wrote a character who believes this:

Excerpt from manuscript I Stumbled Upon You

[after being asked by a girl if he can forget the ‘crazy’ she was being the night before when she was drunk. She wants a re-do, so to speak]

“Do you think you could grand me that wish?” She asked.

“Which is…”

“To block out last night? Just forget Mia-the-randy and know me as Jane, the girl who you woke up to this morning?”

“I can do that.” Sure. I’ve always thought that we all get a certain amount of nights in our life that shouldn’t count. Nights that should be taken off the record book for good, and sometimes we can even get away with it. Others who were there will fail to mention it, we block it out with everything we can muster up, and boom, it’s gone. Lost somewhere in the realm of never-have-been or never-will-be again. Someone’s flat out lying to your ass if they say they don’t have a moment they need swept under the rug and erased from existence. Most people have more than one. I have one night like that. Just one. And I can’t shake it. Therefore I’ll do all I can to give Jane something I won’t get. People deserve that chance. I know this.

Do you agree with Ezra, the main character of this story?

Please share any thoughts. :)


There you have it. Thoughts from a 22 year old Melinda. It might not be the most inspiring piece of writing, but at least it showed me something on this day, more than three years later. It’s like I left something for myself. I had no idea my life would take the turns it did. But I guess I knew that I’d still be thinking, “This isn’t really meant to be. But I’m sure going to make it okay.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have regrets. But I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t want to create a new adventure for myself, despite all that.

Cheers to our past selves. Cheers to who we are.

“Life can’t compete with memories; they never have to change.” C.O.

I'm feelin' 22

I’m feelin’ 22… this was taken that same week!

Love, Lou


“I Won’t Let Anyone Down”

“I know it’s gonna be alright

When I turn out my lights.”

-Justin Townes Earle

This is a lyric that resonates strongly with me right now. Winter is coming, some days leave me lonely, but really, the solitude is something I can enjoy right now.

Sometimes my favorite, most tolerable part of the day is when I turn out my light, crawl into bed, and quiet my mind. I never enjoyed these sacred moments of silence before.

Tonight I called my sister, Meredith, and she was with her friend. Usually, when I call her at night, she is with a friend of hers. I’m put on speakerphone and allowed to laugh and feel that I’m there, at least somewhat. When the call ends I’m alone again. I listen to my (mostly very sad) music and drink a glass of wine and eventually close my eyes and drift off to sleep. Before, I rarely had nights like these. A year ago, I was in the midst of a chapter of life that was social. I never had a night in. I went to shows downtown. I lived downtown! My best friend lived two blocks away. My life became loud and fun and confusing and boisterous. “You NEVER KNOW what could happen in the next 24 hours!” was what Gina and I would say to each other, each night, sitting on her porch drinking whiskey. I knew that chapter would end. Here I am – in a very small town, and I like it just as much.

This is surprising.

I wrote a blog a while ago about how “ramble” is my favorite word. I would consider myself a rambler. The catch is this: I’m not a rambler in the sense that I’m traveling right now. I’m not doing anything very exciting. But my mind never stops (except in those moments when the lights go out) and I realize that I’m a rambler in the most lonesome sense. In my own mind and in my own beliefs of love and companionship. There have been glimpses of True Love, glimpses of What Could Be, but at the end of the day, nothing is promised. I recently talked to someone who was going through a heartbreak. He told me he was sad because he imagined kids with the woman who broke up with him. He imagined their life together. I said, “I’m probably not the one to talk to. I think maybe, you shouldn’t hope or imagine a family with someone until that woman is literally giving birth to said baby and you know for sure it is yours.”

I clap my hand over my mouth when those words come out! I do! But I also don’t regret saying it. Call me a realist; call me a pessimist. I would say that I’m still hopeful, but only for each moment as it comes. I’m quite content believing in the day that is here and the moments that present themselves. There isn’t much use in dreaming of something that just might not happen.

Another lyric that resonates with me at the utmost level as of late… written and sung by that same sister (Meredith):

“If I remain a lonesome woman, I won’t let anyone down

and I can fine tune that broken, hollow, lonesome sound”

-Wildewood, One Against Three

There are days when I repeat this over and over in my head until it becomes a mantra. I can be a lonesome woman. That truly is the only way to not let anyone down. I can focus when I’m at work. I can meet up with my friends at any time. I can live 100% authentically.

But this isn’t to say that anyone living with Their Person isn’t doing so authentically. Absolutely not. I believe in that sort of life, too. But again with the chapters. There are seasons of loneliness and seasons of companionship.

All I know at this very moment in time is that I’m probably not letting anyone down. My family seems proud of me; I’m making it on my own, after all! My friends here are great. I can see how they are meant to be in my life. I don’t owe anyone anything right now. All my debts are paid, all my problems are trivial. I could get used to it.

However: we are human, and solitude isn’t forever. I know I could also get used to letting someone down. It also means raising them up and supporting them and trusting them and challenging them to be better. I want someone to do that for me, too.

I shared this photo on instagram and Facebook. The magic here is that I literally did walk by this mirror, look at myself, and think, “Wow, is this how I look all the time?” I looked more serious than I picture myself to be. My eyes looked tired. I’m not withering away like I once was, but I’m definitely worn out. I’m in a cold, cold place and winter IS coming. I moved here on purpose. It was a challenge. And I’m pretty sure the Midwest only truly accepts a person after the first winter. I’ll be damned if I don’t succeed.


So here’s to the dark nights ahead… the lonely moments that are yet to come… and the friends who will help me through it all. Here’s to knowing that solitude, in this chapter, means freedom from answering to anyone. (except maybe my parents ;) )


Here’s to some good moments of finding ourselves,


Love, Lou